Art for life not for art,says Dayoub

Syrian artist Mahmoud Dayoub has recently held an individual exhibition at the "Maktab" gallery in Damascus.

Through his paintings,Dayoub established himself as one of the best artists in Syria who tackled philosophical issues.

Dayoub also endeavors to convey a clear message to his panel's viewers that a man has been transformed from a creative one into a monster-like creature.

In his panel,titled."the Windmill's Donkey,he depicted a monster revolving around nothing heading to the unknown.

"I do believe that art is for life and not for art itself", Dayoub clarified.

"in my own view point,the artist revealed a certain idea when he held an exhibition.Hence,through my paintings,I am always focusing on the negative aspect of societies only to adopt good values",he asserted.

Dayoub graduated from the Fine Arts Faculty-Photography Section-Damascus University in 2005.

He held his first individual exhibition at the Damascus-based French Cultural Center in 2007.

Dayoub also participated in a number of individual and collective exhibition held in Iran,Tunisia,France,Spain and Holland.


Maysa Wassouf



World's oldest wall painting unearthed in Syria

 Syria was at the crossroads of the ancient world and has thousands of mostly unexcavated archaeological sites , it would suffice for one to make a tour in Syria to see that it is deemed to be the gate of human civilization and that each building has a historical story and each archeological site has a long exiting tale. 

 An archeological excavation works which was carried out during the past few years in Syria have discovered an 11,000-year-old wall painting underground in northern Syria which the excavation team believe it is the oldest in the world.

 The 2 square-meter painting, in red, black and white, was found at the Neolithic settlement of Djade al-Mughara on the Euphrates, northeast of the city of Aleppo.

 "It looks like a modernist painting. Some of those who saw it have likened it to work by  the known artist Paul Klee. Through carbon dating we established it is from around 9,000 B.C.," the leader of the excavation team commented.

 "We found another painting next to it, but that won't be excavated until few years later because it needs a slow work," .

 Rectangles dominate the ancient painting, which formed part of an adobe circular wall of a large house with a wooden roof. The site has been excavated since the early 1990s.

 The painting was moved to Aleppo's museum, and its red colour came from burnt hematite rock, crushed limestone formed the white and charcoal provided the black.

 The world's oldest painting on a constructed wall was one found in Turkey but that was dated 1,500 years after the one at Djade al-Mughara, according to Science magazine.

 The inhabitants of Djade al-Mughara lived off hunting and wild plants. They resembled modern day humans in looks but were not farmers or domesticated.

 "There was a purpose in having the painting in what looked like a communal house, but we don't know it. The village was later abandoned and the house stuffed with mud," the leader of the team said.

 A large number of flints and weapons have been found at the site as well as human skeletons buried under houses.

 "This site is one of several Neolithic villages in modern day Syria and southern Turkey. They seem to have communicated with each other and had peaceful exchanges", he added.

 Mustafa Ali, a leading Syrian artist, said similar geometric design to that in the Djade al-Mughara painting found its way into art throughout the Levant and Persia, and can even be seen in carpets and  rugs.

 "We must not lose sight that the painting is archaeological, but in a way it's also modern," he said.



Maysa Wassouf




W.Istanbuli,Father of Sculpture in Syria




Born in Aleppo , north Syria in 1940, Waheed Istanbuli was the first teacher of sculpture at the Fine Arts Centre.

Waheed studied the fine arts in Austria from 1961 till 1966.

In 1968, he made the"Fertility" (the biggest statue in Syria).

 It is installed at the entrance Aleppo city. In 1984, Waheed made the final touches to his great work  "Al-Battani" that stood at the entrance of Al-Raqqa city.

Waheed won a number of local, Arab and foreign awards. Many of his sculptures decorate the public squares and streets in addition to private houses in some of the country's towns and cities.

Waheed is viewed by arts critics as one of the founders of contemporary Syrian art of sculpture.

He   was renowned for his small-size sculptures in addition to large-size ones including Al-Battani and Fertility.

Old and modern prominent Arab dignitaries drew Waheed's attention .Hence, he exerted strenuous efforts to make them in the hall of fame through his sculptures.

Waheed Istanbuli passed away in Aleppo in 1994 after a long suffering from kidney disease.


Maysa Wassouf




“Youth Inventions” at Damascus Citadel

 Damascus Citadel is currently hosting the 2nd National Sculpture and Painting Forum titled “Youth Inventions”. Twenty young Syrian artists are working tirelessly in the open air to embody their feelings and ideas in wonderful pieces of art in a sort of workshop organized by the Applied Arts Institute in cooperation with the Directorate of Fine Arts.

All will have the opportunity to see the produced sculpts and drawings within an exhibition to be held in the same site at the end of the Forum on November 4th. Encouraging the participants, the organizing body will give financial awards and certificates to participants.

The forum is being held as our homeland is passing through hard times and the lives of all the Syrians have been terribly affected by the crisis. But holding such events stresses that the Syrian people, particularly the youth, have unwavering determination to defy hard circumstances and defend their ambitions in realizing a brighter future for Syria.


To shed more light, “The Syria Times” toured the location and seized this opportunity to talk to the artists.

 Dr. Tareq al-Sawwah, a prominent Syrian sculptor and Director of Applied Arts Institute, confirmed the forum’s being as a bridge keeping contacts between cultural institutions and young artists.

The participants, ten sculptors and ten painters, were chosen after a competition by a neutral artistic jury committee.

“The success of the First “Youth Inventions” Sculpture Forum  last year, and the outstanding skills and professionalism of our artists encouraged us to expand this year’s forum to include painting aiming at providing opportunity to many talented young artists to appear and show their inventions,” al-Sawwah said, commending the Culture Ministry’s cooperation and keenness to sponsor the artists and provide them with all facilities.

 “Seeds to produce creative and innovative young generation are abundant in our country as Syria in particular and the Mediterranean region in general, is the place where civilizations started and flourished producing talented people,” he said, stressing that today, our young potentials are not less talented than those of old times. But actually they need a sponsor to adopt their talent.

Why Damascus Citadel?

“We chose Damascus Citadel as a place to hold the forum as it is a symbol of Syria’s civilization and is actually a source of inspiration to artists,” Dr. Al-Sawwah said, adding that the Applied Arts Institute is located within the Citadel itself so students can keep in touch with the young artists and benefit from the techniques and mechanisms used in inventing artistic works.

Nisreen al-Saleh, a sculptor, said “having  previous contributions to stone sculpture forums, I found a difference in dealing with wood material. The stone is too hard while wood is more flexible and "romantic", so it needs some sort of tenderness while dealing with curves. The forum ensures me suitable conditions that my own art studio can’t provide.”
"In my sculpt, “Woman”, I made very simple and streamlining surfaces depending on light and shadow to add more aesthetical touch to the piece,” she said.

Sculptor Muntajeb Yousef, whose sculpt embodies a “Cock” standing proudly to symbolize strength and pride, said “a kind of relationship and spiritual dialogue is established between the artist and his sculpt,” pointing out that artists view things as sculptural pieces to which artists can add aesthetical elements.

Sandi Ahmad, also a sculptor, said “the forum allowed me to exchange expertise and ideas with other artists who each have a special technique serving the diversity of sculptural works".

"My work, “Body Dialogue”, depicts a male and a female united in one body telling that both share life-making and can’t be separated," Sandi added

Juliana Salloum, a painter, said “working in the open air with other colleagues enriches artists' knowledge, boosts their expertise and builds more self-confidence, stressing that each panel contains a struggle between colors and elements on the one hand and artists’ emotions and daily life practices on the other.

The idea of my painting “the Starting and the Ending”, is depicted in a woman body to indicate that the woman, the symbol of fertility, is the machine-life like which starts life and the vessel which can contain and find solution to all problems. My other work is called “the Sea” to stress how much we need relaxation at the present.

Family atmosphere and social cohesion was clear among participants helping them get out of the stressful state, caused by the current circumstances in the country, and feel more relaxed and more inventive.


Hamda Mustafa




Boosting Syrian Plastic Artist Imperative

 DAMASCUS,(ST)- Bolstering the role of Syrian plastic arts is the main task of the Damascus-based Directorate of Plastic Arts.

For this purpose, the 2012 DPA agenda includes a number of activities, mainly holding exhibitions, seminars and international forums.

To shed more light on the said activities, Aktham Abdul Hamid, the Plastic Arts Institution Director, was quoted as saying " The program starts in September(2012) and lasts till August 2013.

The 1st event will be held in Sweida ( the 3rd painting Forum)

 On the sidelines of the said forum, seminars that tackle the ties between plastic arts and the main genres of literature will be held in addition to musical parties.

Dr. Nizar Azmeh and Abdullah Abu Rashid are due to give lectures.

By holding these exhibitions, seminars and lectures, the DPA endeavors to   enhance the role of the Syrian art in all its forms in both local and international forums. The main purpose of the session this year is to link literature to the plastic arts.

Many products and works of Syrian artists to be presented in the exhibitions will show their creativity, talents and experience with the aim of enabling them to take part in international forums.

"On this year's agenda, an exhibition of  types of calligraphy and photography and ceramics, will be organized, under the motto "Syria is the home of every one",Abdul Hamid confirmed.

Furthermore, other exhibitions of Arabic calligraphy, and photography  entitled "Syria in the eyes of creative artists" in Khan Asaad Pasha, will also be held.

"On the other hand, we seek through these exhibitions to represent the products of sculpture on wood of many artists,'' said Abdul Hamid, citing the importance of the coming exhibition  and  national forum for painting in Quneitra under the title: " Golan in the eyes of Syrian artist ".

" We will try to participate in an international forums and festivals due to be held  participation in Iran " ,Abdul Hamid concluded.


Maysa Wassouf